Saints Scorecard for the Year

saadWith the season pretty much all over, it is time to reflect on how the Saints fared…

Good Stuff

  • Continuing development of Jack Steven – a real ball magnet. Once he learns how to kick more accurately, he will be a great midfielder.
  • Lenny’s comeback from serious knee injury. One more year Lenny! Just one more. Probably my favourite Saints player of all time… At least in my top three. Nick Riewoldt is a good captain, but I would have appointed Lenny over the journey.
  • Sean Dempster reached another level in defence.
  • The Tip Rat continued to kick goals, despite being harshly treated by the umpires. He has to be the best small forward of all time. He would need to have his head literally decapitated and rolling around on the ground 8 ft from his twitching body to be awarded a free kick… The umpires must really dislike the man!
  • General development of young players – Siposs, Saad, Stanley, etc. Whilst I don’t blame Ross Lyon for not blooding new players – he was shooting for a flag – the Saints need the next generation of players to come through. Siposs in particular, I think, will have a break out year in 2013. He can kick a mile, and can be aggressive at the ball.
  • Tom Simpkin in defence was a real find. Just a shame is not a couple of inches taller!

“Development” Areas (not so good stuff)

  • Kosi is done. Not worth anything in trade now. Just chuck him in the ruck to support McEvoy. Everyone always wanted Kosi to reach his potential as a game breaking forward, but it just never happened except for that one blinding patch of form in 2005 when he polled 11 votes in the brownlow out of a possible 12.
  • Reiwoldt is still playing well, but you can see the end coming up soon. For a player who relies so heavily on running hard, his dodgy knee is going to end his career earlier than if he were a massive contested mark like McEvoy.
  • Losing close matches – we have been in the hunt in quite a few games against the Top 8, only to falter at the end. Kicking for goal has been the culprit quite a few times.
  • Everyone loves kicking more goals, as we do now with Scott Watters’ game plan. Well, I am not so keen – I preferred winning games any way possible… With Lyon, I could see he was ahead of the curve in terms of the game plan. Just like Alastair Clarke pinched a flag with his rolling zones, Lyon recognised a new tactic in the game – the forward press and relentless tackling / ball pressure – before anyone else and the Saints used it to great effect in 2009. They were not any better than other teams, they were just first with a new tactic. I cannot see Watters’ game plan winning us more than 12 games. It is just the same as all the other mid range teams. Nothing special.
  • Lenny Hayes wins the best and fairest? Nothing less than a disgrace! How can a bloke, coming back from a knee reco, 32 years old, win the B&F??? I love Lenny, but it is a poor reflection on the team that he won. Where are the rest of the players? I notice that Goddard has never won it. If he was not such a cry baby, he should have won it in 2012. He is 27, fit, and in his prime.

Players Coming and Going

  • Jason Gram – what was he thinking? How could he put at risk the last stages of his career? Another player who, whilst still serviceable, was on the wane regardless.
  • Jamie Cripps – no great loss. Too small, too light, not really a game breaking small. Would have liked to have got that west coast guy in trade, but meh.
  • Raph Clarke – Has been a fringe player for so long. Never quite made it.
  • Brett Peake – played above himself for a while, and I thought it might stick. Sort of like when Aussie Jones left, and Gram willed himself to take on the same role. Just couldn’t maintain the level required.
  • Dean Polo – was never quite sure what he added to the team. Not terrible, but just a bit meh.
  • Tom Hickey – Saints basically got him with the Goddard pick. Good trade, but time will tell. I also recall we traded roughly the same draft pick for Barry Brooks…
  • Brendon Goddard. 2012 was a terrible year for a player who has such talent. Some of his skill errors were just… well… crazy. He was undisciplined, petulant, and of not much use to the team in general.

I am sorry to see him go, and I hope he finds the form that nearly got us over the line in 2010. I am not sure Essendon is going to be the holy land he believes it to be. The Bombers are going to have a tough year. As Tex Perkin’s says “the honeymoon is over, baby!” – James Hird will be torn apart if they start losing games again. The Bombers side is just not that good… The Bomber supporters are a different breed and will feast on their own if things go south.

Also, they are paying him way over market value. Think about it – Jobe Watson is a far better player right now, and captain. He is probably getting $200k less per year than BJ. If I were Watson, I would walk into Hird’s office and say “I want the same cash as BJ or I walk”. Goddard is not at the same level as Ablett when he went to the Suns, or Judd when he left for Carlton. He has not played well for two years – he is a risk. Goddard’s salary could potentially destabilise the team.

I remember seeing Goddard hooked up to the lie detector thing on TV. He was asked if intended to stay and said “yes” which was given the thumbs up as likely to be true. He said he disliked Seaford, the Saints new home, and this was also likely to be true. Having visited Brighton on a number of occasions over the last six months, you realise how close to good living the old Moorabbin ground is. Seaford is a long, long way out. I can understand the players not liking it there. The Saints need to patch up their differences with the council that occurred under Archie Fraser’s reign as CEO and get back there.

I say this because I believe the ground location contributed significantly to BJ’s decision. Having your place of work in the outer suburbs is never much fun. The old Moorabbin oval is a much more attractive option.

Predictions :

  1. Ladder : 8 – 12
  2. Breakout Player : Arryn Siposs
  3. Best and Fairest : Jack Steven
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